By Moshi Shabani
Tanzania Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children through Medical Store Department (MSD) and United States based company Zipline have signed an agreement of delivering health service by using medical drones to remote areas across the country.
Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mpoki Ulisubisya told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the medical drones will simplify deliverance medication including Vaccines to more than 5000 health centers located at the remote areas within the country which cannot be reached by vehicles.
"This technology of using drones instead of vehicle will simplify the work, no more time will be wasted, the service will be useful for emergency issues including distributing urgent documents to the health centers,” he said.
Ulisubisya said the pilot region for the new service will be in Dodoma. He said “We have allocated enough budget for medical services this time, we need those medicine to reach the large number of citizens especially in remote areas.”
According to him, in the project which will start by next year, it will be opportunity to Tanzanian as Zipline Company will employ them in delivering the service.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zipline Company Keller Rinaudo said the drone’s technology to deliver medical service will help in solving health service challenges.
Four distribution centers will be established in Tanzania, starting in Dodoma, the East African nation’s capital, Zipline said. Each center will be equipped with up to 30 drones, with the capacity to make 500 on-demand delivery flights per day.
The drones can carry up to 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) of medical supplies at cruise speeds of nearly 70 mph, with a round-trip range of 100 miles. Health workers can place an order by text message and receive their package within 30 minutes, on average.
In 2016, Rwanda begins Zipline commercial drone deliveries.
The operation uses fixed-wing drones that automatically fly to destinations in the central African nation.
They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning.
The technology promises to make deliveries much faster than had previously been possible by road.